Local unemployment rate drops to 7.7% as professional jobs bounce back

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The unemployment rate in the San Diego-Carlsbad Metropolitan Statistical Area dropped to 7.7% in October, a drop of 1.2% from September, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department.

According to the EDD, total non-farm employment in San Diego County increased by 21,500 jobs month-over-month — from 1,386,600 to 1,408,100 — while farm employment contracted from 9,600 to 9,500.

According to the San Diego Workforce Partnership, many of these represent typical seasonal hires.  Adjusting for those typical monthly gains, last month’s seasonally adjusted advance was a more moderate 13,200.

The unemployment rate at this time last year was 3%. The region lost 106,500 non-farm jobs and 400 agricultural jobs over the year.

The region’s unemployment rate rose to 15% in May during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to EDD data, while data from the San Diego Association of Governments showed rates of nearly 30% unemployment in May.

In September, the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 9% from 10.8% the previous month, and the nation’s decreased to 6.6% from 7.7%.

Professional and business services led all industry sectors in month- over-month job gains at 5,200. The majority of job gains were centered in professional, scientific and technical services — up 3,400 — while 1,000 jobs were posted in scientific, research and developmental services.

Government jobs grew by 4,300, with 2,700 in local and 2,500 in state government gains. The federal government lost 900 jobs locally.

Six other industries posted month-over-month job gains: Construction gained 4,100; educational and health services 3,700; leisure and hospitality 3,200; trade, transportation and utilities 900; financial activities 600; and information 100.

“White collar, construction and many manufacturing workers are doing well, but people who used to work at the hotels, convention center or some part of tourism are struggling to hang on,” said Phil Blair, executive officer at Manpower West. “At 7.7%, San Diego’s unemployment rate contrasts to February’s 3.3%, when companies were scrambling to find workers.”

Mining and logging employment levels remained unchanged.

The two industries to lose jobs in October were other services — down 400 — and manufacturing — down 200.

Comparing year-over-year, leisure and hospitality continue to top the list in jobs lost, with a total of 47,900 jobs lost since last October — 35,200 of which came in accommodation and food services.

Since the same time last year, government lost 17,100 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities 13,800; other services 10,500; educational and health services 10,000; and manufacturing 6,500; financial activities 3,800; and information 3,400.

Professional and business services gained 4,300 new jobs and construction grew payrolls by 2,200 year-over-year.

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